Global praise for Ayrshire College initiative

Global praise for Ayrshire College initiative

Ayrshire College has won an international award for its mental health initiative, #PassingPositivity.

The International Green Gown Awards celebrate the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the world.

This year's Green Gown Awards ceremony took place online on 8 July 2020.

Ayrshire College won the 'Benefitting Society' category, beating colleges and universities in Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Australia.

Ayrshire College won the award for its high-profile #PassingPositivity campaign, initially organised by HND Coaching and Developing Sport students in partnership with the Kris Boyd Charity. The campaign has since been adopted by other departments across the College and the wider community.

What started off as an event aimed to raise awareness of the benefits that physical activity can have on a person’s mental health, has now become a culture of promoting the importance of positive mental health and wellbeing.

Working alongside Vibrant Communities and Ayrshire Sportsability, free weekly football, dance, disability sports and multi-sport groups for care experienced people have been established at Ayrshire College, with all participants provided with free kit by suppliers OnlySports.

To spread the #PassingPositivity message further, Ayrshire College's music department recently held a songwriting competition which was won by music student Leah Batty. Her song 'Don’t Forget Who You Are' will be recorded and released later in the year with Britain's Got Talent winner Jai McDowall. All proceeds will go to the Kris Boyd Charity. 

Other #PassingPositivity activities include a planned campus-to-campus charity walk - #Walk4Lionheart, in memory of Adrian 'Lionheart' McCallum - which was postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, on what would have been the day of the event, students, staff, and many others worldwide completed a solo walk and posted videos and photos on social media.

Sport & Fitness student Ross Munro, who is a full-time wheelchair user, walked for the first time in four years for the fundraiser. Ross raised over £800 for the Kris Boyd Charity by walking 15 metres from his bedroom to his living room using leg callipers and with the support of his Mum.

Most recently hospitality students at Ayrshire College donated over £2,000 to the Kris Boyd Charity by gifting their tips for the year and the proceeds of a fundraiser.

#PassingPositivity has garnered celebrity support on social media from the likes of WWE wrestler Drew McIntyre, Outlander actor Steven Cree, sports broadcasters Hayley McQueen and Jim White, and the late wrestler Adrian ‘Lionheart’ McCallum.

The College earned this international recognition by previously triumphing at the UK & Ireland Green Gown Awards, back in November 2019.

Carol Turnbull, Principal at Ayrshire College, said: "To win an International Green Gown Award is a tremendous accolade and our staff, students and partners will be delighted that their outstanding work has been recognised with such a prestigious award."

Kris Boyd, former footballer and founder of the Kris Boyd Charity, said: "Congratulations to Ayrshire College on winning an International Green Gown Award. This is one of the most prestigious educational awards in the world.

"The #PassingPositivity campaign has raised awareness of the benefits that physical activity can have on a person’s mental health and wellbeing. It is a passion of mine to promote positive mental health, and I am glad to be able to support the College in doing this.

"The charity has worked in partnership with the College for the past couple of years, and I am glad to see they have received the recognition they truly deserve. However, this is only the start. I know the College has big plans for the future, and I'm looking forward to working with them."

James Adams, Head of Learning and Skills for Sport & Fitness at Ayrshire College, said: “I am delighted that #PassingPositivity has received recognition from the Green Gown Awards for the outstanding work that the students have conducted. The issue of mental health is of critical importance and our staff and students are doing what they can to make a difference to their communities.”

10 July 2020

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